Silent Auction

October 23, 2016


Contemporary Syrian Art Auction from October 23 to December 3

Our Plan

Speak Out for Syrians is proud to announce a silent auction of Contemporary Syrian artwork to benefit the medical relief efforts of the Syrian American Medical Society (SAMS) and to be concluded at a fine dining event at Davidson College. SAMS is a nonprofit, professional and nonpolitical organization that represents over 5,000 Syrian American physicians. SAMS is working at the front lines of crisis relief in Syria and its neighboring countries to alleviate suffering and save lives.

This auction showcases Syrian artists with a long history of dissent in the face of brutality. For decades, these artists have been forced to circumvent official censorship to expose the crimes committed inside Syria. Opposition to the Syrian government is often punished by imprisonment, torture, and death, even in the years before the current war. Thus, art served as “opposition hidden in plain sight.” Syrian artwork serves as a tapestry, representing both the suffering inflicted on the Syrian people and their resilience to it. Syrian art and culture is a beautiful thing, and will not be destroyed by either tyrants or terrorists.

However, it is painfully hollow to speak of Syrian culture in a purely intellectual manner while children are being killed in their sleep and entire cities are being destroyed. We want to use Syrian art to show the suffering and strength of the Syrian people, and to raise money for medical facilities and supplies inside Syria. Speak Out for Syrians is coordinating with SAMS to open their first chapter in North Carolina, and to support their medical mission in the besieged city of Aleppo, Syria.

Brief descriptions of the Syrian artists who have contributed, images of the art to be auctioned, and the link to our auction page can be found below. Targeting medical personnel has become a weapon of war, and it is our duty to support them in their efforts to save civilian lives.

100% of all bids will go to the Syrian American Medical Society’s relief efforts in Aleppo

 In 2015, SAMS treated more than 2.6 million Syrians including 2.3 million inside Syria and the rest in neighboring countries. 96 cents out of every dollar goes directly to their medical operations, and the average cost per life touched was $9. 

Please help us in our mission to raise money for Syrians who are in dire need of medical support. You can make a difference.


Medical Relief & Contemporary Syrian Art

We will be holding an event to support SAMS’s medical relief efforts in Aleppo, Syria on Saturday, December 3rd at Davidson College. The event is sponsored by the U.S. Department of State and the Davidson College Center for Civic Engagement and will include fine dining and an art exhibition. All guests will be treated to complementary Middle Eastern cuisine, thanks to our food and beverage sponsors. Please note that there is a $50 suggested donation and 100% of raised funds, both from the art auction and any donations during the event, will go directly to SAMS. Our guests will also have the opportunity to meet several Syrians recently relocated to Charlotte, NC as a result of the war, as well as hear first hand accounts from some of the dedicated physicians working on the front lines to provide primary healthcare in Syria and neighboring countries. Please join us to support the relief efforts of the biggest humanitarian crisis of our time, and explore Contemporary Syrian art as it embodies a deeper truth.

There is a limited space, so if you are interested in attending, please email Adam Morin at

Tentative Schedule:

4:30 Greetings, art display, and piano performance by Cynthia Lawing 
5:10 Opening Remarks (Mohammed El-Sarhan)
5:15 Life and work of Syrian Artists Monkith Saaid and Etab Hreib
5:25 Overview of outreach efforts for Syrian refugees (Alia Nassri)
5:30 Syrian refugee family living in Charlotte shares their experience 
5:45 Meal served 
6:10 Introduction to Syrian American Medical Society (Adam Morin) 
6:15 Keynote Speaker: Mohamad Sekkarie, MD, SAMS Treasurer
6:30 Donations ($50 suggestion)/final auction/End

*please note Davidson will be holding a parade called Christmas at Davidson. Some roads near campus may be closed. For any assistance in directions, please do not hesitate to call Adam Morin at 703-895-7597 or Mohammed El-Sarhan 804-350-5657.

Auction Page


Syrian Artist: Monkith Saaid

On the verge of being executed at the age of 18, Monkith fled his native Iraq to Syria with nothing but a bag his grandmother had given him. He quickly fell in love with Syria, something that would come to define both his career and his life. He studied sculpture in the Fine Arts College in Damascus where he graduated in 1982 and then traveled to Holland, where in 1992 he won the prestigious Dutch prize for art and culture. Despite his success in Europe, he decided to return to Damascus. A prominent theme in Monkith’s work is Sufi philosophy, where the entire world revolves around a single point. As a result, much of his work focuses on a single point of balance, where some characters have only a single foot on the ground, while others are struggling to support another figure or an inanimate object. Monkith described all his works as being part of his unfinished diary.  He ascribed his philosophy to periods he had spent in exile in his own life, without any worldly possessions. Monkith Saaid passed away in 2008, before he saw his beloved Syria tear itself apart. The final interview he gave with Arab Art and Culture Journal Al Jadid was very revealing about his life and work.

“The Chair” is one of his last formidable sculptures. One day he told me that he had decided at the last minute to turn the sculpture upside down. Then, as he burst into laughter, he said, “In this sculpture, we see petty tyrants tripping over themselves and losing their power.”  This laughter is the undying signature of Monkith Saaid, who passed away, but left behind his fingertips grasping the place.

Much like the Syria he loved so much, Monkith Saaid lived through unbelievable hardships, and his legacy to the world is one of beauty and vibrancy.

Item 1: Dance Against Gravity


18″ Bronze , edition 5/8, 2002.

Item 2: Tigris River on Glass 


5″, edition 1/1, 2001.

Item 3: Peace Man Holding Dove


12″, edition 3/8, 2002.

Item 4: Tigris River on Marble


4.5″ Bronze/Glass, Edition 4/8, 2004.

Item 5: Whirling Dervish


6″, Edition 3/6, 2003.

Item 6: Dance Against Gravity (Small)


11″, Edition 3/6, 2003.

Item 7: Adam and Eve


12″, Edition 4/8, 2001.

Item 8: Flying Man (small)


11″ Edition 1/8, 2003.

Item 9: Flying Man (large)


12.5″, Edition 8/8, 2001.

Item 10: Reflection of Surroundings


13″ Bronze Edition 2/5, 2000.

Item 12: Saint Simeon


Bronze, Edition 1/1, 2002.


Musician Cynthia Lawing

Professor Cynthia Lawing has a personal connection to Syria, and she was inspired to donate her own talents to raise money for the Syrian people. Describing herself, Professor Lawing says:

I have performed with the Hong Kong Philharmonic, Orquestra de Macau, the Charlotte Symphony, the Wittenberg University Symphony, Davidson College Symphony Orchestra, The Cleveland Institute of Music Orchestra, the Springfield Symphony, the Piedmont Concert Band, the Western Piedmont Symphony, and the Salisbury Symphony, featuring concertos of Beethoven, Mozart, Ravel, Shostakovitch, Bach, Grieg, Saint-Saens, Poulenc, Chopin, and Gershwin.

I have had the privilege to perform notable private recitals, including an Inauguration concert for Vasco Leotte de Almeida Costa, Royal Governor of Macau, and a private recital for Madame Chiang Kai-shek. I regularly perform internationally with my husband, William Lawing, Estes Millner Professor of Music. Over the past three years, my concerts have included recitals in Chile, Hong Kong, The Netherlands, Germany, China, and Taiwan.


Offer #1

Private Piano and Cello Recital


Offer #2

Piano Lesson Series 



Syrian artist: Etab Hreib

Critically acclaimed Syrian watercolorist, Etab Hreib, graduated from the Graphic Arts Department of the University of Damascus. Since then, she has exhibited her work in various parts of the world. She was the recipient of the Al-Mahros Golden Award in Tunisia, a Golden Award from the Chinese Ministry of Culture, and an award from the Ministry of Culture in Algeria. Before the current war, Etab taught at the Fine Arts Department at Damascus University, gave painting courses for diabetic children, conducted workshops for the blind, and worked as a set and costume designer for Syrian theatre, film, and television drama. Etab’s background speaks to the diversity of Syria- her father was Muslim and her mother Christian. Etab’s work is immediately personal due to her own connection to the war. Her son was kidnapped and murdered by ISIS for posting a photo on Facebook that showed him drinking wine. The panels Etab has donated were inspired by the chemical weapons massacres in Ghouta, Eastern Damascus.

To bid on any of Etab’s work, please follow the link here

Ghouta Panel #1


10×3 Wooden Panel

Ghouta Panel #2


10×3 Wooden Panel

Ghouta Panel #3


10×3 Wooden Panel

Ghouta Panel #4 


10×3 Wooden Panel

Ghouta Panel #5


10×3 Wooden Panel

Ghouta Panel #6


10×3 Wooden Panel

Ghouta Panel #7


10×3 Wooden Panel

Ghouta Panel #8


10×3 Wooden Panel

Ghouta Panel #9


10×3 Wooden Panel

Ghouta Panel #10




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